TVUSD board officially approves ‘held harmless’ grading policy during pandemic

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The Temecula Valley Unified School District’s Board of Education this week officially approved a resolution not to allow students’ grades to be negatively impacted by work submitted during coronavirus-related school closures.

The district had said as far back as April — when it started to become clear that students would not be returning to campuses after spring break due to the ongoing pandemic — that it would be implementing a “held harmless” policy for work completed through distance learning, but the board’s resolution at its May 5 meeting was the first time board members actually took a vote on the matter.

The resolution, which was approved unanimously, states that teachers will “assign final grades based on students’ grades when the school shutdown occurred, with opportunities to increase the final grade.”

Any assignment given on March 13 or before, the resolution says, may contribute to students’ “baseline” grades, meaning any work submitted once distance learning began will essentially function as extra credit.

The resolution also says district administrators will “collaborate with school administrators and teachers to develop and regularly review guidelines for attendance during instruction and the assignment of homework through distance learning and alternative means.”

March 13, a Friday, was the last day of in-person classes. Spring break had previously been scheduled to begin a week later, after Friday, March 20, and TVUSD initially held that classes would resume on April 6 after the planned break was over. However, Riverside County health officials on March 17 ordered all schools in the county to remain shut until April 30. The same day, when Gov. Gavin Newsom said it was uncertain if schools would be able to reopen at all during the current school year, it started to become clear that closures would last much longer than anticipated. That was made official when county health officials announced on April 2 that schools would stay closed through June 19, effectively ending the school year.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.